If you're a commercial driver, you may notice that you have a sixth sense for traffic laws when you are driving in any vehicle. This is because you know there are more severe consequences for violations as a commercial driver. However, we are all still human, and sometimes no matter how careful you are, mistakes may be made, especially after many hours on the road.
When getting a ticket as a non-commercial driver, you can have the penalties reduced or erased with a traffic school course. On the other hand, a commercial driver receiving a ticket may be subject to job loss or lessened job opportunities. Let's take a look at what exactly happens when a commercial driver gets a traffic ticket.
Non-Commerical Drivers Have the Ability to Simply Remove Violations from Their Driving Record
At some point, most drivers have been guilty of a traffic violation. Whatever the violation was, the process and consequences are pretty simple to understand. A person will likely have to pay a fine and possibly have their insurance affected, but a traffic school course can solve these issues. Also, in some states, a defensive driving course can completely erase a violation from somebody's driving record. The court still has record of the violation, but it will be a "confidential conviction" and it won't turn up in search results. When it comes to commercial driving, however, it's not that simple.
Strict Regulations for Commercial Driving
It's unfortunate, but if you have a commercial driver's license, getting a violation erased from your driving record is pretty difficult. The definition of a commercial driver is one who is paid to operate a vehicle, and thus the driver's ability is held to a higher standard. Here are some of the higher standards a commercial driver is subject to:
- You are always considered a commercial driver, even when driving a non-work vehicle.
- It doesn't matter if you are driving for personal reasons or work, the violation and point penalties are the same.
- You can only have one kind of driver's license, which means racking up points on your record can affect the job you have now and opportunities later on.
- Because of insurance requirements and government regulations, commercial vehicle companies can discriminate when selecting employees.
Traffic School for Commercial Drivers
It's a common misconception that commercial drivers have the same opportunity as non-commercial drivers to have their violation erased. Sadly, it doesn't work that way. Here's why:
- Although commercial drivers may still receive a reduction in points, the offense will still show up on their driving record.
- Lowering points definitely helps, but convictions are the main factor considered in the commercial driver hiring process.
- A commercial driver does not get the same benefit of the "confidential conviction" rule.
Moreover, it may even be possible that commercial traffic drivers experience a negative effect of taking a traffic school course on their future job opportunities. This is because when you take a traffic school course, you are essentially admitting you are guilty. In the end, the offense is on your record either way and cannot be erased. The only way to have the violation taken off of your driving record is to go three years with no violations.
How Commercial Drivers Can Prevent Violations
Since it can be a devastating blow to receive a ticket as a commercial driver, it's imperative that you take action to make sure it doesn't happen. It is highly recommended to know about your options for improving your driving skills and to be familiar with the traffic laws of where you travel. If you do happen to get a ticket, it is highly advised that you seek the professional advice of an attorney before admitting guilt or accepting any kind of consequences.
A traffic school course can still be highly beneficial for a commercial driver because it will allow you to become a much better driver and avoid future violations. You're also killing two birds with one stone because your improved driving skills can be used to seek out better job opportunities with your current company or a different one if you so choose.